Forget the “competition” at left tackle. The first week of camp has made it clear that competition is about as real as the one at quarterback.
There is no competition. Jordan Mailata won. He has outplayed Andre Dillard, and barring an injury, it is clear who will start in Week 1.
Now, with that basically over, the real competition will begin — Mailata vs. the front office.
With about six weeks to go before Week 1, when Mailata will almost certainly be starting at left tackle, the only question remaining at left tackle is who is going to win what should be an interesting contract negotiation between Mailata and the front office.
Mailata, the team’s soon-to-be starting left tackle, is set to be a free agent at the end of the season. His status as a soon-to-be free agent is likely one of the main reasons Howie Roseman had to be rooting secretly for Dillard to win the job. The Eagles control Dillard for three more seasons, including 2021. Had he won the job Dillard would have been under contract for 2022, and although he might have been given a new deal, he would have far less leverage than Mailata does.
Assuming Mailata stays healthy this season and plays at even a decent level there is a very, very good chance is going to be a huge contract next offseason. Very rarely do quality left tackles hit the free agency market, and when they do, they almost always get overpaid. Mailata, just 24-years old, an elite athlete for the position and still filled with upside, will be the next tackle to get a huge deal if he does hit the free agency market.
Unlike the potential (and now unlikely) contract negotiation with Dillard, the Eagles will have no leverage in a negotiation with Mailata. They will need him far more than he will need them. If they were to let Mailata walk they would have no answer at arguably the second-most important position in the game. In fact, there is an argument to be made that the second Mailata is officially named the left tackle he should demand a new deal and not play until he gets one.
There is no question Mailata would likely want to stay in Philadelphia with the team that taught him the game of football and took a chance on him when he had never played the game. But with career earnings of just over $2 million, thi